Snake Island - a general zoological reserve, military base and a tourist destination
The name "Serpentine" are several islands. One of them is located in the Black Sea on the territory of Ukraine. The island belongs to the Odessa region (Kiliysky district). In the only settlement Beloe lives a hundred people. The right to possession of the island was disputed by Romania, but by decision of the international court in The Hague on February 3, 2009, Snake Island was left for Ukraine.
The existence of the island was known in the VII century BC. Travelers from ancient Greece sailed here to explore the coast. Thanks to the public figure and writer Flavius Allariu, valuable information about the Black Sea in general and about the island in particular has been preserved to this day. The expansion of the Greeks lasted more than one century.
There are many legends and legends associated with the snake island. Achilles was considered the patron saint of this land.The mythical hero was served by large white birds flying low above the ground. During the Trojan War, Achilles killed by the enemies on Snake Island (or as Levke Island was then called) was resurrected.
Snake Island was considered a hospitable, but forbidden place for sailors. It was allowed to stay for some time, take a break from a hard journey, sacrifice to Achilles. After that, the Mariners were instructed to return to the ship and continue their voyage.
AcrossThe land plot traveled “from the Varangians to the Greeks,” the soldiers of Prince Svyatoslav and the Zaporozhye Cossacks sailed. Throughout history, the Turks, Russians, Romanians were the owners of the Serpentine. Since 1948, the island belonged to the Soviet Union, and after the collapse of the state, Ukraine became the mistress of the territory.
Snake Island (Ukraine) is located in the Black Sea (north-western shelf), thirty-five kilometers east of the Danube Delta. Coordinates: 45 degrees, 15 minutes, 18 seconds north latitude and 30 degrees, 19 minutes, 15 seconds east longitude from Greenwich. The shape of the island is cruciform. The closest settlements of Ukraine are Ust-Dunaisk and Vilkovo, Romania - Sulina.
The island has a tectonic origin. This is the only plate elevation in the Black Sea. The origin of the island is still unknown. Scientists believe that the appearance of the Serpentine contradicts the scientific theory: the crust of the earth cannot rise in such a small area. When viewed from above, Snake Island (map) resembles a flounder.
Because of the powerful rocks, the coast of the island is rocky, rising 4-5 meters in the northeast and up to 25 meters in the west. The highest point is 41.3 meters above sea level.
Snake Island is located in the zone of temperate steppe climate. There are often strong winds blowing (from the west and northeast), the weather is changing. Humidity is high. In winter, temperatures range from zero to two degrees Celsius, in summer - up to twenty-four. The maximum temperature is forty degrees Celsius above zero, the minimum is minus thirty. The island receives up to three hundred millimeters of rain a year.
Flora and fauna
Snake's vegetation is mainly grass: sorrel, quinoa, hare barley, ground reed grass and others. In spring, the grass blooms beautifully, but it dries out in July. Trees and bushes, even with careful care, do not withstand the climate. Phyto and zooplankton inhabit the sea.
The fauna of the island is more diverse, but the main fauna lives in the sea.These are fishes (flounder, goby-round timber, burbot), sea inhabitants: mussels, crabs, rapana. Local fishes are distinguished by natural gigantism: in size they are much more than their brethren in appearance. Snake lives on small, non-venomous snakes, hence the name of the island.
The islanders keep cats, dogs, rats in some houses. Of the birds, the island was chosen only by gulls and cormorants. True, in the fall and spring Snake is a resting place for migratory birds. More than a hundred species of birds are gaining strength for further flight. Where is Snake Island, they suggest instincts.
Natural resources and relief
The island consists of dense rock, mainly of quartzite. Coastal, equalized by the action of the waves, anomalously wide with a gentle and convex transverse profile. A natural landmark is the crescent-shaped stone ridge, which goes deep into the sea, although there is a version about the artificial origin of the spit.
Because of the wide range of precipitation and the proximity of the sea on the surface of the island a lot of salt. In carbonate nonchernozem soils contain a large amount of humus.
The terrain is distinguished by small elevations, plains (plateaus), runoff, ancient sea terraces and rocky cliffs.Deep rocks are located on stony-gravelly soils.
In the depths and the surrounding area of the island there are deposits of gold, oil, natural gas. For this reason, the rights to the Snake Island continues to be challenged by Romania.
Currently, the island’s territory is a cross between a military base and a recreation and tourism center. The duty to the homeland is given by air defense units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and border guards. Together with the soldiers on the island are their families. Fresh water, food, other things necessary for life are delivered from the mainland. At a special station conduct research.
The island has a large jetty for taking large ships. For tourists built cozy one-story houses with gazebos, benches and alleys for walking. There are four beaches for recreation. Lovers of antiquities will surely enjoy the local history museum and the lighthouse of the XIX century.
Until 2008, the island was considered a closed object. Today, to get to Snake is not difficult. Get to the place by helicopter or boat.